All Access Soccer


By: Matt Carroll

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Matchday 16
There will be a full slate of games tomorrow to kick off Matchday 16 of the English Premier League that should help you cope with a limited college football schedule for the first time since the end of the summer, but it will be the super Sunday card that will get our full attention as two of the biggest Derbies in the top flight highlight the action and should make for exciting morning. Be sure to tune in and catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.
Sunday (all times eastern)
7am – Arsenal @ Southampton – St. Mary’s Stadium, NBC Sports Network
Arsenal saw their twelve-match winning run at home come to an end when, despite peppering the Manchester United backline and goalkeeper David de Gea with a total of thirty-three shots, fifteen of which were on target, they were only able to get one past the Spaniard, whose fourteen saves tied a Premier League record for the most ever in a match, as they fell to Manchester United 3-1. The loss left them in fifth place and on the outside looking in at the top four when they travel to the St. Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton, who came from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.
The loss was the first for Arsenal in their last four in the league and just the second in their last seven (W5), as they continue to push for a spot in the top four at the expense of teams in the bottom half of the table. They will have the chance to do so again when they open up the Sunday slate against a floundering Southampton side, who have won only two of the last fifteen meetings between the two in the league (L8 D5) but can take a glimmer of hope with both of those wins coming at the St. Mary’s Stadium, where the Gunners have failed to pick up all three points in their last five visits (L2 D3).
9:15am – Everton @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network
Everton made sure new manager Sam Allardyce’s tenure got off to a flying start when they won for the second time in three days and secured back to back wins in the league for the first time this season after getting past Huddersfield Town 2-0. They will face a much stiffer test in Sunday’s second fixture when they make the one mile journey across town to Anfield for the Merseyside Derby against arch rivals Liverpool, with the Reds gearing up for the local showdown by handing Brighton & Hove Albion their first home defeat since the opening day of the season 5-1 to move back in to the top four.
The win made it five from their last six in the league and with just one loss in their last ten (D3), Liverpool will be confident of making sure they hold on to fourth place regardless of Arsenal’s result earlier in the morning, and more importantly at least in the short term Merseyside bragging rights, as they have dropped only one of the last twenty-two with the Toffees (W12 D9) in the league and are currently enjoying a thirteen game unbeaten run against their rivals (W6 D7), failing to walk away empty handed against their neighbors at Anfield since a defeat all the way back in 1999 (W9 D8).
11:30am – Manchester City @ Manchester United – Old Trafford, NBC Sports Network
While the Merseyside Derby will be a nice appetizer to get the day started, the main course and the biggest derby of them all will close out the day and the weekend when Manchester United entertain Manchester City at Old Trafford in the Manchester Derby. The absolutely magnificent display from de Gea kept United within sight of City ahead of their one versus two matchup after the Citizens restored their eight-point cushion when, for the third time in as many weeks, a goal in the game’s final ten minutes proved the difference as they equaled the Premier League record of thirteen wins in a row.
The string of late victories, along with their eight month long twenty-eight game unbeaten run across all competitions that came to an end in the mid-week when a much changed City side, with one eye clearly on the weekend Derby and their place in the next round already secured, fell 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in a throw away Champions League game, has potentially exposed some vulnerabilities of a City club that have won only one of their last six with Manchester United across all competitions (L3 D2) and just one of the last five times they have made the trip across town to Old Trafford (L2 D1).

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